I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone for the kind words as I briefly went into hibernation after struggling with a lot of changes that have been going on in my life. So many of you have reached out, and it really means a lot. Thank you.
Many have asked what my goal with M.O.M. is. And I still don’t really have an answer for that in many ways, but I do have one answer. My one goal for M.O.M. is community—a place where anyone in the local music scene (or this community as a whole) can feel welcome.
I used to get made fun of for being more expressive and imaginative when I was a kid. I now realize that so many of the people that made fun of me either sucked or were just reacting because of their own insecurities, but while they made fun of me, it’s not like my friends ever reassured me that those things were normal. It seemed that I was tolerated for those eccentricities because of other qualities I had.
Being in this community, it’s taken me a long time to realize that what I thought was this weird, niche thing about me that my friends never understood is something that y’all don’t just tolerate from me but actually like about me. That is a really long, convoluted sentence to say that I was baffled that you might actually like me because of those things.
I keep expecting to share something that’s really stupid and for all of you to leave, and yet, you’re still here. I am baffled as to why because acceptance to this level is not what I am accustomed to. But it’s what we should strive for in our communities.
That shouldn’t be groundbreaking for someone as old as I am, but it’s really refreshing in contrast to the environments I’ve been in all of my life. I grew up in a very conservative community in Texas. I grew up Mormon. I went to BYU. I went on a mission. I attended (and graduated) law school. That last one is a little different in how it stifled who I was, but every place I went for the first twenty-seven years of my life naturally suppressed parts of me that needed room to breathe.
I was talking about these things—about find community and acceptance for the things that I thought ostracized me from everyone else—with my roommate. I have known him over a decade, swam with him at BYU, and he’s always been like an older brother to me. He was much kinder in relaying the message, but more or less he jokingly responded with, “Congrats, you now understand to a small extent what it was like for me growing up gay and how I've felt since being out.”
Not that this was some kind of paradigm-shattering moment for me regarding the importance of and why we celebrate Pride Month,* but it’s so important that we create an environment safe enough for people be true authentic versions of themselves. It’s especially important given the hate and intolerance we are seeing all across our nation today, including in our own state.
So that’s my number one goal for M.O.M. I want M.O.M. to be a place where people can be themselves—during Pride Month and always.** But especially for the queer community. Music is about expression of self, and that is so intertwined with our sexuality. What is music without love songs? And what is life without being able to love who we love?
It may seem a little dumb for this to be the goal of something that is so small and non-consequential, but it’s something that’s really important to me.
Celebrate who you are. You never know when doing so might help someone else struggling to be themselves.
*I have gone through plenty of personal self-discovery over that last few years, including my own sexuality, but that is not the purpose of this article.
**One caveat: unless you’re a bigoted piece of shit.
So, come here often?